Be proactive in moving plants indoors for winter – Red Deer Advocate
Cold and frost warnings mean the end of summer and the beginning of autumn. Don’t wait too long before deciding which plants to bring with you.
Carefully examine potential houseplants for insects and eggs. Look at the top and bottom of the leaves and where they connect to the stem. Eggs are often found on the back of the leaves near the veins. If the plant is already potted, make sure that no ants have invaded the soil. Since insects and / or eggs on plants are easy to miss, it is best to isolate the incoming plants for about two weeks. Check the new plants regularly for signs of insects and treat if necessary. If insects are found, decide whether it is worth exterminating the creatures or bringing the plant back outside.
Look for plants that will thrive indoors or will easily hibernate. Succulents, cacti, tropical plants and geraniums are often brought into the house in autumn. Expect plants to show signs of stress and leaf loss when moved to a different environment.
Succulents are full of liquid, which makes them very susceptible to light frosts. Once inside, put them in a bright window and water them sparingly when they go to sleep.
Place tropical plants according to the amount of light they need. Water when the soil beneath the surface is dry. As the days get shorter, tropical plants need less moisture than their main growing season, unless they are under growing light.
Geraniums have hibernated inside for generations. One way is to calm the plant down by placing it in a cool place with dim light and minimal water. The plant will exist until the days get longer, then it will produce new growth. If space is tight, trim back the top growth of the geranium as a few leaves will help the plant in its dormant state.
Another method is to put geraniums in bright, sunny windows or under artificial light. With extra light, they will thrive and even bloom. When the houses were drafty, geraniums were brought in with bare roots and hung in the rafters of cold stores. Today’s cold rooms are drier and the roots usually dry out before spring.
To overwinter fuchsia plants, put them in a bright, cool window and let the plant rest and water if necessary. As the days get longer, the fuchsias begin to grow new growth. Cuttings can be taken as soon as new growth appears.
Spikes or dracaenas are easy to hibernate. Like the other plants, they survive in a dormant state in a cool place with some sunlight. Wintered dracaenas become large solitary plants.
Be proactive in moving plants indoors for the winter. It is easier to decide which plant to pick up when it is warm as opposed to a cold, wet evening. Space and time usually play a major role in this decision
Linda Tomlinson is a local gardener who you can reach at [email protected]